Gintama is one of the biggest shonen anime titles there is, dominating top anime lists of almost any genre. Known for its top-tier comedy and perfectly contrasting epic battle scenes, it's a favorite of anime lovers from different age groups. If you're yet to watch the show and see its greatness for yourself, we'd love to help show you just what makes Gintama so popular.
Here are five reasons why Gintama is good and worth watching.
Dynamic and Easy-to-Like Characters
Gintama has very lovable characters and they each have solid backgrounds that make them relatable and easy to like.
The main characters are Gintoki Sakata, Shinpachi Shimura, Kagura, and Sadaharu. The four make up the Yorozuya, literally meaning "Odd Jobs," which is a team that takes on absurd and odd jobs (obviously) to make money in an alien-infested Edo (present-day Tokyo).
Gintoki, the team's leader, is a lazy and silly ex-samurai who likes to make up scenarios in order to get out of situations he finds troublesome. However, there is a "gap" in his personality in that if he finds something to be truly worth protecting, he has no problem giving his all into fighting for it. He is equal parts charismatic and funny, and the people around him are naturally drawn to him.
Shinpachi is a 16-year-old whom Gintoki recruits for Yorozuya first. A running gag about him is that he doesn't have any personality trait worth noting and that his glasses are all that he has going for him. However, Shinpachi is presented to be a profoundly passionate young boy, whose love for the singer Tsuu edges on questionability at times. He's the character who's assigned the otaku persona.
Kagura is an Amanto, the alien species that took over Japan in the series. Given her Yato clan genes, she is an incredibly powerful fighter, but one who broke free of the fate she had been given as an Amanto. Unlike her fellow aliens, she doesn't fight just for the sake of it; she fights because she believes she has a responsibility to protect those that need protecting.
Sadaharu is a giant white dog that Kagura finds outside the Yorozuya headquarters one day. Sadaharu is a dog god that was previously owned by two priestesses who abandoned him because of money problems. He has unprecedented strength and has a tendency to be violent, but Kagura, who has a sad past with pets (she's accidentally killed previous pets because she was too strong), loves him no less, especially since she's finally found a pet that she couldn't accidentally kill. Sadaharu eventually turns less violent and he completes the Yorozuya team.
Let me just say one thing before we continue. Gintama has some of the darkest jokes in anime. It was projected to only appeal to male audiences over 30 years of age because of this fact, but that assumption was quickly proven wrong, seeing as it fared pretty well at a 7 pm timeslot the first time it aired.
Gintama is known to spoof many other anime and break the fourth wall a lot. I don't know about you, but those two comedic tropes always work on me.
Since the jokes go over some people's heads, there's no doubt its humor is something that would appeal more to "initiated" watchers. Of course, that's not to say that non-fans of the show are less bright, just that it takes a specific set of preferences to like it.
Intense Action Scenes
Gintama's action scenes are what makes the experience whole. True, the anime is most known for its comedic elements, but it's expertly executed fight scenes provide a satisfying contrast for its viewers.
The action scenes in Gintama are neither forced nor haphazardly made. They provide a neat juxtaposition to the more prominent theme of dark comedy and absurd scenarios. They're so good they could easily end up in lists of the most epic anime fight scenes. Think Zenitsu in Demon Slayer, when he sheds off his obnoxious, cowardly self to reveal a cool and crush-worthy fighter. Don't we all look forward to those moments? Gintama is able to give viewers almost the exact same feeling with each fight scene.
This doesn't come as much of a surprise considering most jokes work when they're put together or set up in an intelligent way. Gintama is full of good dialogue, and that is a reflection of how much goes on in the mind of the creator.
The manga can be too much because of this, since the dialogues can become too much to read. The anime solves this problem because we don't have to read what the characters are saying... of course that depends on which dub you're watching.
A fan of words and wouldn't mind spending hours reading the Gintama manga? Check out this guide on where to read manga legally!
Weird but Effective Setting
Gintama is set in an alternate reality Meiji period, where aliens have conquered Japan, essentially modernizing the country. As a result, present-day swordsmen and regular people are still clad in traditional Japanese clothing, but have technological staples like phones and TV. There are also modern-day buildings and the streets are lined with neon lights at night.
The setting is an absurd but surprisingly easy to digest fusion of sci-fi, samurai action, and comedy. It's easy to see how these elements should clash, but geniuses like Gintama's creator, Hideaki Sorachi, have their way of putting together even the most polar of themes with ease.
The weird setting makes for a unique viewing experience. Paired with the masterfully designed characters and story arcs, Gintama is a refreshing and utterly enjoyable series.
In need of good shonen anime to watch? Look through this list of some of the best shonen anime to watch.